Lebanese authorities give themselves four days to establish responsibilities

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PARIS | The Lebanese authorities have given four days to an “investigative committee” to establish responsibility for the explosions that caused scenes of devastation in Beirut on Tuesday, foreign minister Charbel Wehbé announced on French radio Europe 1 on Thursday. .

“Since this morning, a decision has been taken to create an investigation committee, which has four days maximum to give a detailed report on the responsibilities. How, who, what, where? There will be judicial decisions, it is serious and we take it seriously, ”explained the Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“Those guilty of this horrendous crime of negligence will be punished by a committee of judges,” he added.

On Wednesday, the government demanded the house arrest of those responsible for the storage in the port of the Lebanese capital of a large quantity of ammonium nitrate, a substance used in the composition of certain fertilizers, but also of explosives.

The huge explosions in Beirut have left at least 137 dead and 5,000 injured, according to the health ministry, while 300,000 people are left homeless.

The disaster was due, according to the authorities, to a fire in a warehouse that housed ammonium nitrate.

“It’s an accident (…) the preliminary reports indicate that it is a bad management of explosive products. It is a very serious negligence which continued for six years, affirmed Mr. Wehbé Thursday.

International aid is starting to arrive in Lebanon, France, Egypt and Gulf countries in particular.

French President Emmanuel Macron was on his way Thursday morning for Beirut, where he will be the first foreign head of state to surrender since the disaster.

He is to meet with his counterpart Michel Aoun and the main political leaders as well as with representatives of civil society.

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